TWO-THIRDS of primary school staff in Ireland are physically hurt by their students, according to a new survey.
The Inclusion Illusion survey, which was carried out by the National Principals' Forum, a lobbying group set up in 2019, set out to identify any shortfalls in the provision of special needs education in the primary school system.
It found that not only have two-thirds of primary school staff been hurt by their students, but that one in three were hurt on a 'regular' basis.
The survey also revealed that four out of five principals have seen their mental health deteriorate due to the stresses involved with the job, while more than three quarters claim that their physical health has suffered.
The conclusion in the report reads: "The health and wellbeing of the principals, and indeed teachers, trying to safeguard our pupils, in particular, those with additional needs, already disadvantaged by a system that is unfit for purpose, is being continually exploited and eroded.
"The most startling figure of all found by the survey was that 88.4pc of principals agreed that they have less SET [Special Education Teaching] time under the new SET allocation model than they would have had in the older allocation model in 2012."
This new model was introduced in 2017 and it was designed to be fairer to those in need of special education support. However, this survey concluded that in the vast majority of cases there is less allocation under this model for school-going children.